We Are Respectful, Resilient, and Engaged, Now and Always.
These are words that students at Warren are very familiar with as it has been integrated into the school this year. The administration dedicated the whole first week to teaching the students the Warren Way, having us create posters, watch videos, and had our teachers incorporate the Warren Way into their classrooms. But, are the students at Warren really following these words or are they disregarding them?
From my point of view at the O’Plaine Campus, the students of Warren have not cared much about what the Warren Way has taught us or even the Warren Way in general. It seems like even with it’s introduction, the school environment is still dominated by disrespect for administrators, teachers, school property and other students. The students don’t appear to care much about being resilient, and the engagement level in classes has not seen a great increase.
One prime example of a lack of respect is the ‘devious lick’ trend that surfaced throughout the internet in these past few months. This trend did not fail to reach Warren where kids disrespected the property of the school and the teachers. I mean, a quick look on Instagram would show you trashcans in toilet and paper towels wasted. After the effects of the trend started to really damage the school, we were shown a video telling us to stop doing these things and “follow the Warren Way.” As you would expect from high school students, the message was disregarded and that day and days following the vandalism may have even worsened.
Also, respect among students has not seen any improvement to the school environment. Fights are still a very common occurrence at Warren (primarily O’Plaine). Everyday, not only are verbal arguments happening, but physical fights are consistently happening. Many times a week, you will see fights at the school all over social media and talked about through the spread of the word.
The idea of resilience and engagement sounds like a good thing to inspire the students. But in reality, no one is going to hear the Warren Way message and suddenly be inspired to be resilient and engaged. At the high school age, it is more up to your own motivation through goals and someone or something important in your life, but a phrase from your school certainly is not what is going to get you on the right track.
Not only has the Warren Way been disregarded by students, students have turned it into a joke and even used it to make fun of other students. Starting with the posters at the beginning of the school year, almost every student was already laughing about the Warren Way. While it was fun, we are in high school and making posters was just a fun joke for us, not something that really got us thinking about the virtues of the Warren Way. The phrase the Warren Way had also been used throughout the school about something to make a joke about something someone did. Commonly, someone does something funny and another student says “that’s not the Warren Way.” Additionally, when I played for Warren soccer this fall, if someone messed up or did something funny, teammates would then say “that’s not the Warren Way.” The phrase has also been used to make fun of other kids at the school on social media. On multiple occasions, I have seen people’s Snapchat stories where they see another kid who may be dressed or acting different than what may be seen as ‘normal’ and they would post saying “The Warren Way” or “not the Warren Way.” Clearly, this behavior is the opposite of what administrators tried to push onto the students of Warren.
Although the Warren Way has evidently not done much to better the Warren community, other than creating a joke among students, it is important to realize that the words are still good virtues to have. Respect certainly does create a better, safer and happier environment at school. Resilience is important, especially with us coming off of a challenging year of school and just a rough year of life due to COVID-19. Finally, engagement is important to improving the learning environment and it was very difficult for students when we were learning through a computer screen last year.
But, even with the Warren Way having positive virtues and intentions, I, and many students would agree that the Warren Way initiative was ineffective. There has not been any apparent improvement of the community at Warren, and many would even say this has been an especially bad year for behavior at school.